Rod Dreher is the senior editor at The American Conservative. He penned a piece a few days ago about chastity and how it’s been relegated to America’s social trash heap.

The article was in response to Pope Francis’s recent letter, Amoris Laetitia, a rather tortured explanation of the Catholic Church’s continuing lack of comprehension where sex and real people are concerned.

If you are interested at all in what an old celibate man has to say about intimate relationships, you can read his take and others outrage on sex, marriage, divorce and remarriage here, but I am going to focus on the Dreher piece because I find the idea of chastity and the way its been used/continues to be used so repugnant.

Dreher references a young female reader of his blog as the basis of the argument that chastity as an idea has been forgotten by most adults and that this is – in her (and his) view – a huge loss for society.

When you consider chastity as an idea that has always been problematic at best and violently oppressive at worst, I don’t agree at all.

Chastity has been forgotten for a good reason. It only existed is the first place as a way for society and religion to shame and control women and LGBTQs.

It’s a tool of oppression that has – among other things –  allowed sexual abusers to flourish in the priesthood specifically but also in families and society at large. It’s part of what has helped keep females second class and physically vulnerable for thousands of years.

Chastity is the more evil twin of modesty. Both are tools of subjugation, and teaching our children that sex is dirty and their bodies are shameful is one of the deepest roots of the ills of modern society.

Dreher’s young reader bemoans the fact that her friends couple physically without regard to what the church thinks about it.

And not in “scandalous” ways. What she references to is nothing more than dating, consensual sex, and co-habitation. Just the normal stuff of life. Behaviors that humans were engaging in long before religions and governments decided that it was in their best interests to introduce restrictions and instructions. And let’s not kid ourselves that this occurred for any other reason than politics and power.

For some reason though the young woman Dreher quotes, thinks that people don’t value relationships because sex often happens before marriage and sometimes marriage doesn’t happen at all.

I would argue that people don’t value each other because of the screwed up messages they get from religions and pop culture, the latter being a backlash of the first. But the religionists are stuck on the idea that humans are incapable of valuing each other or understanding love and intimacy sans a whooping doses of shame.

Because that’s what chastity is. It’s shame disguised as a virtue.

There’s nothing healthy about teaching young people – females in particular – that their bodies are such a corrosive distraction and temptation that they should not only be well-covered but they should be kept off-limits sexually until  safely housed within the confines a lawful marriage.

There are a lot of good reasons to be choosy about who you form an intimate relationship with but preserving one’s chastity would not top any list I might make.

And I wouldn’t argue at all with the young reader’s idea that intimate committed relationships are something that a some people don’t put much serious thought or effort into. But not because of a lack of chastity. Not because they are knowing or unknowing “sinners”.

People are thoughtless because they are human. They live in the past and the very near future. Seldom in the moment. Rarely thinking far ahead. Mostly self-interested. It’s our humanness that sometimes makes us terrible partners. Chastity and rigid, unrealistic rules about how to date and mate aren’t the fixes for these things.

The Catholic church (much like other faith beliefs) is only interested in sexuality because it allows them a means to exert undue influence and even control over people.

The Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar was among the first to legislate and reward state-approved sexuality. Long before Christianity, Augustus realized that people could be more easily controlled this way. It wasn’t about sin. It was about consolidating power. Regulating women to a more subservient role. Marginalizing LGBTQs. Chastity was a part of that and it’s no small wonder that when the Christians arrived, their religion eventually became the state religion. Roman rule and Catholic aversion to healthy sex were a match made in their particular twisted versions of heaven.

If someone wants to practice chastity as a part of a personal belief system or to be more mindful of themselves and their partners, more power to them. As it stands though, chastity is a blunt tool of suppression with both eyes ever on the prize of control. It tells those it is aimed at that they are shameful, bad, deviant. It teaches people wanting or participating in sex is a personal failing. It springs out of the idea that all sex is sinful – consensual and non-consensual alike.

Chastity is why women are still not equal.

When chastity becomes a choice rather than a coerced obligation, I might be inclined to amend my views, but I don’t see that day on the horizon.

Chastity is best forgotten. And the sooner the better.


It irks me when I read that I should be thrilled by the Democratic presidential race because the leading contenders for the nomination are black and woman. When I see that in print what I read is “women should just be happy to have had the shot but should realize that voting for Obama is best”. And why is that what I see? Because it’s still a man’s world. Here we are in the 21st century and women are still literally descended from Adam’s rib. There was a MSNBC article not long ago where Obama is quoted as saying that Clinton should stay in the race as long as she wants. It implies that even he thinks she is a token. The quote made me dislike him, and I haven’t disliked him up until I read that, because it was so condescending. Like “Look, the cute little girl is tilting at the White House windmill while the big boys watch.” I loathe that kind of crap.


I know that I am a minority in my belief that women are only free on a fairly superficial level and then only in westernized civilizations. Because we aren’t being forcibly circumcised en mass or imolliated by our husbands when our families can’t pay larger dowries or by relatives who feel burdened by the care of  old widows (or simply lust after their inheritances) – then we are liberated and equal. But we aren’t. Hillary and Barack are virtually indistinguishable on issues but for piddling details, so the issue should be who is more experienced not who is more charismatic (and strong women will never win this game). And is that the case? It doesn’t feel like it. 


Young women in France are being expected to provide sex for accommodations. They are being sold for opium in Afghanistan and here in the enlightened West, they rent their wombs and consider themselves equality pioneers for getting naked on their way to the top.



There is an article on MSNBC discussing Hillary Clinton‘s recent resurgence in Texas and Ohio. The author talks about her main base of supporters being Boomer women with the typical being a 50 year old white woman who is jazzed about the fact that as a gender we are SO close to putting one of our own in the Oval Office. Despite the fact that my husband insists that I am pretty much within spitting distance of being this “typical” Hillarite woman (and I am so not by the way as not quite 45 is hardly 50 at all), I am equally psyched about the prospect of having a woman president. So psyched in fact that my dislike for Sen. Obama is probably at times simply driven by not much other than his “Y”-ness. Though his serious lack of anything resembling a plan for this country and his lightweight Senate rep is not helping him score any points either.  Then there is the issue of his glowing aura. Charisma, a Jesus Christ Superstar-like halo, and a fawning media are grounds for immediate suspicion, in my opinion. Nothing good ever comes of even one of those things and all three could be harbingers of the Apocalypse for all I know.  But like most other old women, I can read a hand-written wall. Messiahs are male and really cool. 


Having been accused of being merely a bigot for preferring a female in the White House and having been told that voting for a woman because she is a woman is merely proof that women should never have been given the vote in the first place, I must say that if Sen. Clinton was just offering me “change” and “hope” without any clear idea of how to accomplish something that might actually be “change” and provide real “hope” I would scoff and dismiss her out of hand, much as I have done with Obama. I am too old to be drawn in by style (which the media is quick to point out that Sen. Clinton doesn’t have in comparison to the Chosen One). I want substance with my president too. I want someone who knows that being the president is damn hard work and has a proven track record of being someone who works hard. Well, isn’t that a bit simplistic, you might think? How like a girl to believe that the highest office in the land is achieved by qualifications and elbow grease and not the hand of destiny plucking the worthy from the unwashed. But I don’t believe that such an important job should go to the most popular kid in the class.  Didn’t we all suffer through enough of that in high school?


The reason that older women like Hillary Clinton is that she is one of us. She came up through the ranks and, thanks to the shortsightedness of the early feminists, had to do it all whether she wanted to or not. Be the mom. Work the full-time job. Do it better and faster and without a net. And for all that, still be dismissed as just a woman, or wife or daughter or sister.  Somehow in the wake of the Obama tsunami, it’s been lost that a woman being elected president is just as great a victory for civil rights as an Obama win would be. It would be an equal stomping of the White Male American way of thinking and doing. More, in a way, because women are still the near daily victims of the rampant and ugly sexism that dominates not just America but the world.


Women in the U.S., it could be/is argued, are on equal footing with men, but we are granted only the superficial freedoms. They keep so many of us – younger women especially – blind and mollified that it might be better if American men were as open with their disregard and contempt for us as men are in other less “enlightened” places in the world.  At least then we would know for sure and be able to point it out. That’s Obama’s advantage over Clinton in this race. Racism can’t hide but sexism in the West is subtle and so easily denied that women have begun to doubt its existence. Pay no attention to that old man behind the curtain, little ladies. Just listen to what the big head is telling you the truth is.


And the truth is that it is no more a black man’s turn at the White House than it is a woman’s.